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Russian Federation get off to winning start in Confederations Cup

Russia’s president was in the $750 million new stadium in his native St. Petersburg to see forward Fyodor Smolov’s 69th minute goal add to an own goal by New Zealand defender Michael Boxall in the 31st.This competition offers Russian Federation a chance to showcase its readiness to host the 2018 World Cup amidst off-field concerns surrounding hooliganism and security.The Krestovsky Stadium was late in opening and came home well over budget, while serious problems have been experienced with the playing surface.Football fans shone with excitement as the Russian team won the opening match of the Confederations Cup against New Zealand.In the only match played Saturday, Smolov took his chance to shine.The first warning sign for New Zealand came in the seventh minute when Michael McGlinchley was forced to hack off the line after Viktor Vasin’s header came back off the inside of the post.Dmitry Poloz then went down under a challenge from New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic in the area, but the Colombian referee waved away the penalty appeals and there was no intervention from the video assistant.Smolov’s goal was rightly ruled out for offside, but dominant Russian Federation were not to be denied, taking the lead on 31 minutes.In the opening match, Russian Federation midfielder Denis Glushakov flicked the ball over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic in the 31st minute as All Whites defenders rushed back to try to clear it off the line.Participants in the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russian Federation, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions Germany, 2015 Copa America Champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup champs Portugal, OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup victors New Zealand and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Champion Cameroon.Alexander Yerokhin sparked the attack with an interception around 30 yards from goal, and his pass was helped on by Poloz into the path of Denis Glushakov.”We achieved a very good result and at times a very good game”.The win puts them top of Group A, with Mexico and Portugal – the other two teams in the section – due to face off on Sunday.